nter Marine Research and High Education Center

Island, Maldives

nter Marine Research and High Education Center

Island, Maldives
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Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Stefani F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Stefani F.,CNR Water Research Institute | Pichon M.,Museum of Tropical Queensland | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2012

Recent phylogenetic analyses have demonstrated the limits of traditional coral taxonomy based solely on skeletal morphology. In this phylogenetic context, Faviidae and Mussidae are ecologically dominant families comprising one third of scleractinian reef coral genera, but their phylogenies remain partially unresolved. Many of their taxa are scattered throughout most of the clades of the Robust group, and major systematic incongruences exist. Numerous genera and species remain unstudied, and the entire biogeographic area of the Indian Ocean remains largely unsampled. In this study, we analyzed a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene and a portion of ribosomal DNA for 14 genera and 27 species of the Faviidae and Mussidae collected from the Indian Ocean and New Caledonia and this is the first analysis of five of these species. For some taxa, newly discovered evolutionary relationships were detected, such as the evolutionary distinctiveness of Acanthastrea maxima, the genetic overlap of Parasimplastrea omanensis and Blastomussa merleti, and the peculiar position of Favites peresi in clade XVII together with Echinopora and Montastraea salebrosa. Moreover, numerous cases of intraspecific divergences between Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean populations were detected. The most striking cases involve the genera Favites and Favia, and in particular Favites complanata, F. halicora, Favia favus, F. pallida, F. matthaii, and F. rotumana, but divergence also is evident in Blastomussa merleti, Cyphastrea serailia, and Echinopora gemmacea. High morphological variability characterizes most of these taxa, thus traditional skeletal characteristics, such as corallite arrangement, seem to be evolutionary misleading and are plagued by convergence. Our results indicate that the systematics of the Faviidae and the Mussidae is far from being resolved and that the inclusion of conspecific populations of different geographical origin represents an unavoidable step when redescribing the taxonomy and systematics of scleractinian corals. More molecular phylogenies are needed to define the evolutionary lineages that could be corroborated by known and newly discovered micromorphological characters. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Colombo A.,Irccs Instituto Of Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri | Bettinetti R.,University of Insubria | Strona G.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Cambria F.,Irccs Instituto Of Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

Due to its geographical peculiarities, the Republic of Maldives represents a case study of great interest for the investigation of persistent organic pollutants, from both a socio-economic and an ecological perspective. Thus, we conducted a first survey to assess the current status of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD), polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl (DL-PCB) concentrations in Maldivian soils. The range for PCDD/F and DL-PCB soil concentrations was 0.01-49.3pg WHO2005-TEQg-1 and 0.01-3.69pg WHO2005-TEQg-1dw respectively. PCDD/F concentrations exceeding several international soil guidelines were found in samples from locations in the proximity of local waste combustion sources. DL-PCB concentrations were lower than PCDD/Fs and comparable to those in previous reports from background areas and in areas with developing industrial and agricultural activities. PCDD/F and DL-PCB levels (expressed as WHO2005-TEQ) in soils were strongly correlated (r=0.89), which suggests that, in most of the sites, they are originated from the same emission sources. Results indicate that PCDD/F soil concentrations (expressed as WHO2005-TEQ) tend to decrease with the distance from the local pollution sources. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that PCDD/Fs in the most polluted locations are mainly generated by waste combustion. These findings highlight the need for immediate changes in waste management policies in the Archipelago, in order to reduce the release of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the fragile local environment. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Kitano Y.F.,University of Miyazaki | Stolarski J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Hoeksema B.W.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center | And 9 more authors.
Zoologica Scripta | Year: 2014

Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that most traditional families of zooxanthellate shallow-water scleractinians are polyphyletic, whereas most families mainly composed of deep-sea and azooxanthellate species are monophyletic. In this context, the family Dendrophylliidae (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) has unique features. It shows a remarkable variation of morphological and ecological traits by including species that are either colonial or solitary, zooxanthellate or azooxanthellate, and inhabiting shallow or deep water. Despite this morphological heterogeneity, recent molecular works have confirmed that this family is monophyletic. Nevertheless, what so far is known about the evolutionary relationships within this family, is predominantly based on skeleton macromorphology, while most of its species have remained unstudied from a molecular point of view. Therefore, we analysed 11 dendrophylliid genera, four of which were investigated for the first time, and 30 species at molecular, micromorphological and microstructural levels. We present a robust molecular phylogeny reconstruction based on two mitochondrial markers (COI and the intergenic spacer between COI and 16S) and one nuclear (rDNA), which is used as basis to compare micromorphogical and microstructural character states within the family. The monophyly of the Dendrophylliidae is well supported by molecular data and also by the presence of rapid accretion deposits, which are ca. 5 μm in diameter and arranged in irregular clusters, and fibres that thicken the skeleton organized in small patches of a few micrometres in diameter. However, all genera represented by at least two species are not monophyletic, Tubastraea excluded. They were defined by traditional macromorphological characters that appear affected by convergence, homoplasy and intraspecific variation. Micromorphogical and microstructural analyses do not support the distinction of clades, with the exception of the organization of thickening deposits for the Tubastraea clade. © 2014 The Norwegian Academy of Science.


Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Terraneo T.I.,University of Milan Bicocca | Galli P.,University of Milan Bicocca | Galli P.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2014

The Indo-Pacific scleractinian coral family Lobophylliidae was recently described on the basis of molecular data and micromorphological and microstructural characters. We present the most comprehensive molecular phylogeny reconstruction of the family to date based on COI and rDNA including 9 genera and 32 species, 14 of which were investigated for the first time. The monophyly of the family is now strongly supported, with the inclusion of the genera Acanthastrea and Micromussa, whereas previously it was based on uncertain molecular relationships. Nevertheless, these and the other lobophylliid genera Echinophyllia, Micromussa, Oxypora, and Symphyllia, are not themselves monophyletic and need to be investigated from a morphological point of view. Acanthastrea faviaformis is nested within the family Merulinidae. This study highlights the need for further analyses at species level and of formal taxonomic actions. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Stanca E.,University of Salento | Roselli L.,University of Salento | Durante G.,University of Salento | Seveso D.,University of Milan Bicocca | And 4 more authors.
Transitional Waters Bulletin | Year: 2013

1 - Phytoplankton is considered as a natural bioindicator of water quality because of its sensitivity and its complex and rapid response to change of environmental conditions. 2 - The aim of this study was to investigate and provide important new information about the checklist of phytoplankton species in different lagoons of the Faafu atoll in Maldivian archipelago. 3 - A total of 140 phytoplankton taxa were identified. In terms of species richness, dinoflagellates were the largest group with 55 identified taxa belonging to 22 genera. Coscinodiscophyceae recorded 38 taxa belonging to 14 genera; Bacillariophyceae represented by 18 taxa belonging to 10 genera and Fragilariophyceae recorded 11 taxa belonging to 8 genera. Most of the other classes were poorly represented with only one or , at most, two taxa for each genus. © 2013 University of Salento- SIBA.


Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Strona G.,University of Milan Bicocca | Strona G.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 4 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2012

Little is known about coral diseases in the Indian Ocean region, especially in the Republic of Maldives. This study aimed at documenting the presence of coral diseases in the archipelago of the Maldives. Surveys for lesions in scleractinians conducted at 8 sites around Magoodhoo Island (Faafu Atoll) in October and November 2010 led to the identification of 5 coral diseases and 1 anomalous pigmentation response affecting 8 hard coral genera. White syndrome, skeleton-eroding band disease, black band disease, and Porites dark discoloration response were the most commonly observed conditions. In contrast with several reports of other reef systems, the overall observed prevalence of coral diseases was rather low (<2%), with individual prevalence ranging from 0.7% for skeleton-eroding band to 0.18% for Porites dark discoloration response. These data represent the first report of coral diseases for the Republic of Maldives. © Inter-Research 2012.


Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Arrigoni R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Arrigoni R.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 4 more authors.
Zoologica Scripta | Year: 2015

Hydroids in the genus Zanclea are a recently discovered component of the fauna associated with reef-building corals. The phylogenetic relationships among these species are not well known. The present work is based on field surveys in the Republic of Maldives, and for the first time, morphological and molecular analyses are integrated to distinguish a new hydroid species and provide new information on the ecology of this symbiosis. This new hydroid, Zanclea gallii sp. n., was associated with the scleractinian Acropora muricata; it was living sympatrically with its congener Zanclea sango, which was observed for the first time at this locality on the new scleractinian host Pavona varians. The relationships between these two hydroids and other available scleractinian-associated Zanclea were investigated using two molecular markers, nuclear 28S rDNA and mitochondrial 16S rRNA. Zanclea gallii sp. n. and Z. sango were recovered as distinct lineages within a monophyletic group of scleractinian-associated Zanclea based on both molecular and morphological data. All Zanclea species that were observed living in association with scleractinians belong to the 'polymorpha group' and share the morphological characteristic 'polymorphic colony'. The genus Leptoseris is the 16th host coral identified for Zanclea. Compared with the frequency of the Z. gallii sp. n. association with A. muricata and Z. sango with the scleractinian P. varians, the latter is twice as common; however, the former exhibited higher Zanclea polyps concentrations over the colony surface. Overall, the Zanclea survey indicates that these diminutive hydroids are more commonly associated with coral than previously known. © 2014 Royal Swedish Academy of sciences.


Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Strona G.,University of Milan Bicocca | Strona G.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 4 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2013

Little research has been conducted on diseases affecting reef-building corals in the central Indian Ocean. During 2010 and 2011, we performed a quantitative assessment of black band disease (BBD) in the central Republic of Maldives. Distribution, host range, and prevalence of BBD were investigated at 6 coral islands (Magoodhoo, Adanga, Ihuru, Vabbinfaru, Thudufushi, and Athuruga) belonging to 3 different atolls. BBD was found to be widespread among the atolls. All the islands showed a prevalence lower than 0.5%. Magoodhoo Island showed the highest mean disease prevalence. In the whole surveyed area, shallow sites showed higher overall mean BBD prevalence than deep ones. BBD was recorded from 6 scleractinian families (Acroporidae, Faviidae, Poritidae, Siderastreidae, Agariciidae, Fungiidae) and 13 scleractinian genera. Two of them, Gardineroseris and Sandalolitha, constitute new records for the disease. The siderastreid Psammocora (BBD prevalence: 5.33 ± 1.41%, mean ± SE) was the most affected genus, followed by Goniopora (2.7 ± 1.3%). BBD prevalence was positively correlated to the respective host density in both genera. Favites and Acropora were the less affected genera (both <0.1%). Although we observed an extremely low overall disease prevalence in the surveyed area (<1%), the large number of different scleractinian genera affected and the widespread distribution of BBD indicate a need for further investigation. © Inter-Research 2013.


Seveso D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Seveso D.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 6 more authors.
Marine Environmental Research | Year: 2013

Osmotic stress represents a limiting physical parameter for marine organisms and especially for sessile scleractinian corals which are known to be basically stenohaline and osmoconformers. The salinity changes may cause important cellular damage since corals lack any developed physiological regulatory system. One mechanism of reaction to deleterious conditions is the rapid increase of the induction of heat shock proteins. This study highlights the modulation of the expression of a mitochondrial heat shock protein, such as the chaperonin Hsp60, in the animal tissues of the scleractinian coral Seriatopora caliendrum under three salinity scenarios (hypersalinity of 45ppt, hyposalinity of 25ppt and extreme hyposalinity of 15ppt). The study was performed during the time course of a 2-day period and accompanied also by the assessment of the coral health condition. For each salinity stress S.caliendrum responds differently at the morphological and cellular levels, since the Hsp60 exhibited specific patterns of expression and the coral showed different tissue appearance. Furthermore, the response reflects the severity and exposure length of the disturbance. However, the results indicate that S.caliendrum seems able to tolerates high salinity better than low salinity. In particular, in extreme hyposalinity conditions, a considerable gradual down-regulation of Hsp60 was detected accompanied by necrosis and degradation of the coral tissues. The study suggests that Hsp60 may be involved in the mechanisms of cellular response to stress caused by exposure to adverse salinity. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Montano S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Montano S.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | Seveso D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Seveso D.,nter Marine Research and High Education Center | And 4 more authors.
Marine Biology Research | Year: 2015

Mushroom corals (Anthozoa: Scleractinia: Fungiidae) have been well documented as hosts of a rich associated fauna, but no records involving the symbiotic hydrozoan genus Zanclea (Hydrozoa: Capitata: Zancleidae) are known. These small (~1 mm long), coral-associated hydroids have only been reported from associations involving 23 non-fungiid scleractinian host species in the Indo-Pacific. Since both groups, Fungiidae and coral-dwelling Zanclea hydroids, are known to occur on Indo-Pacific coral reefs, it was unclear why no mushroom coral hosts were known. Therefore, a survey in the Maldives was performed aiming at the discovery of Zanclea–Fungiidae associations. Subsequently, 10 new host species were discovered and the number of recorded coral host genera increased from 17 to 24, taking recent taxonomic revisions into account. These findings indicate that the coral-associated biodiversity is still insufficiently explored. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

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